How To Pre-Drill Pilot Holes For The Wood Screw’s Best Fit

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Pilot holes are pre-drilled small holes that are important when driving screws into the wood. This hole is often created to prevent the wood from splitting into two whenever you are driving a screw through it.

Another benefit to pre-drilling pilot holes offer is the ease of installation and accuracy of the driving of the screw, especially if you are working with hard as well as dense wood.


With pre-drilling pilot holes, you will be able to get the most effective as well as long lasting fastening power from the screws considering that you are able to do the job perfectly and with the correctly sized clearance and holes.

Determine The Location Of The Screws And Marking The Right Spot

Before drilling any hole on the wood that you are working on, you have to determine the exact location of where you want to drive the screw. This is an important step to make sure that the screw will fit perfectly into the pilot hole. Using a tape measure or a ruler, you can measure and determine where you need to pre-drill the hole for precise applications. Once you are able to determine the location, you have to mark the spot using a pencil or any other marking pen.

How To Pre-Drill Pilot Holes For The Wood Screw’s Best Fit

Prepare All Things Needed, Especially The Wood

Things You Will Need

A Cord drill or Cordless Drill

Drill Bit


It is very important to prepare everything before you start working. All materials must be ready before working. Likewise, you may need to make a small indention on the spot where you need to place the pilot holes. Doing this will ensure that your drill bit will travel straight and will not run off to other directions. You can make a small indention using a punch. This is a small and slim tool with a pointed end on one side. To use this tool, you have to align the punch with the marking you created and lightly tap the tool with a hammer.

Selecting The Right Drill Bit Size To Use

When choosing a drill bit, you have to remember to select the bit that is slightly smaller compared to the diameter of the actual screw that you will be using. If you drill a hole with the same size or perhaps larger than the screw, this will not hold. Thus, a smaller hole is necessary as this will the screw threads to grip the material and hold on to it without splitting the wood.

For most hardwoods, the pilot hole must be at least as big as that of the actual screw’s minor diameter. If ever the screw has a deep thread or that the wood that you are working on is very hard, the pilot hole must be another 1/64 inch larger than the minor diameter of the screw. However, for softer types of wood, the pilot hole may be 1/64 inch smaller than the minor diameter of the screw.

If you skip pilot holes or drill a too small one, this can create hairline cracks in the wood. Visible cracks are definitely bad. However, smaller cracks can eventually widen and cause the joint to fail in the long run.

hair crack in the wood without pre-drill hole

Without pree-drill hole (Via

The Actual Drilling Process For Pilot Holes

When you are ready to drill the pilot hole, you have to align the tip of the bit with the invention you have made of the wood (better You shoudle use a pocket hole jig). With the power drill, you need to adjust its position until you are able to achieve the desired angle for the screw. You have to remember to drill the pilot hole deep enough so it can accommodate the length of the screw. You have to keep a firm grip on the drill to prevent it from wobbling, as this can increase the diameter of the hole. If this happens, a larger screw may need to be used.

How To Pre-Drill Pilot Holes For The Wood Screw’s Best Fit

Driving screww with pre-drill hole (via

Safety Consideration When Drilling Pilot Holes

When working with power drills, it is very important to take note that most power drills operate with high RPM or rotations per minute. Thus, this power tool must be handled carefully. You should always wear protective gear for your eyes and hands to prevent any accidents and injuries. Moreover, you should also the manual of the tool for the manufacturer’s operating instructions as well as the guide for safety precautions.

Jose A. Brown

Jose A. Brown is a mechanic engineer and an enthusiastic blogger whose mission is to provide the readers with the best tips, guides in the Home Improvement, DIY Project, and Industry.

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